Saturday, December 17, 2016

No such thing as bad weather: Showing off my northern woodswoman skills

My plans for this morning were somewhat altered by the weather, which brought us a good bit of snowfall and warnings about possible freezing rain to come. So we stuck close to home and and waited for the snow to let up.

 I decided to make some homemade bread, since we happened to be out of any store-bought. I had planned to buy some at the farmers market, but that was off the agenda for today.  I fished around in the cupboards and came up with everything I needed and got down to it.

By the time I had the dough mixed up and set to rise, the snow had let up a bit and the Handsome Husband went out to start snow-blowing the driveway out in front.

So, with an hour to kill while the dough was rising, I grabbed my beloved Sorel boots to go out back and start shoveling the deck there. 

 I liked Sorel boots better when they were actually made in Canada, but I am pretty sure they aren't made there anymore. Still, they are good toasty boots. They have thick felt liners that are awesome in cold weather. They work so well in this part of the world that they make me think of that expression: There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. 

Which got me wondering who first said that. It turns out that it is a bit of folk wisdom from either Sweden or Norway. No one seems to know for sure. In both languages, the word for "clothes" rhymes with the word for "weather".

Swedish: Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder.

Norwegian Bokmål: Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær.

So I guess it works as a little rhyming ditty of wisdom in either language.

Anyway, I did my share of shoveling (with very warm, dry feet) and then wielded the roof rake to clear snow from that pesky overhang that is prone to ice dams.

And by then, it was time to bake the risen bread. 

I am pretty proud of my north country winter survival skills. Who needs a Florida condo when you can have an hour of useful exercise in the bracing winter air and then come inside to warm, yeasty bread, right from the oven.

PS The recipe for this whole wheat bread came from my late former mother-in-law, Marjorie Machell (for whom my granddaughter is named.) Marge got the recipe from her Home Bureau days. I don't know if Home Bureau chapters still exist, but they were great for teaching all kinds of useful skills. It was kind of like 4H or Girl Scouts for adult women. We should bring this back. When the entire world's cyber systems collapse, knowing how to bake bread will come in handy.

PPS and update:  
My friend Gretchen emailed this picture of the Home Bureau Creed. Gretchen tells me that her street had an active Home Bureau in the 70's and 80's. I, too, remember belonging to a Home Bureau chapter in Warren County, NY, for a brief time in the early 1980's. It really is too bad that Home Bureau has faded away. Their meetings were both fun and useful. Thank you, Gretchen, for the photo.